Be John the Baptist, Not Christ


I have often heard that we, as Youth Ministers, are called to be Christ to the teens we serve. While this is well intended and seemingly obvious, I believe that it falls short. I submit that what we need to concern ourselves with is being John The Baptist to our teens. Not being Christ but rather pointing to Christ.

Before I continue I must give credit for this insight to a good friend and instructor, Mark Mann. It was Mark who made this point in a class I attended a few years ago.

Mission of John the Baptist

Ever since that day in class I have challenged myself to become more focused on pointing to Christ as opposed to myself. My goal has been not so much that the teens see Christ in me but rather that I try to give any glory back to Christ. The mission of John the Baptist was to lead the way for Christ and point others to Him. John certainly had a tremendous impact on his followers but always pointed others to Christ and instructed his disciples to follow Christ. 

“ I am baptizing you in water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loose the thongs on his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. “ Luke 3:16.

Our Mission

I once was asked, as a class assignment, to reflect on when I will know that my ministry was successful. I referenced the last scene of the movie Mary Poppins, where the children run off to fly a kite with their Father. They did not even say good-bye to Mary, they were too filled with the joy of the opportunity to be with their Father. Mary’s work was done so off she went until needed by someone else. Her call was to help the kids and their Father enter into a truly loving, lasting relationship. So our call is to help the teens we minister to find that lasting relationship with Christ that HE so desires and run to HIM.

It’s Not About Us 

Our ministry must never become about us. We can still be dynamic and engaging. However we must, at all times, be focused on leading teens toward a desire to know Christ’s love for them. Our ministry must not depend on us. Let us seek to have a lasting impact without acknowledgement that it was us. Let Christ’s words, not so much ours, ring true.

Strive to point teens to run to Christ. Let us be a voice in the wilderness of this world – announcing that Christ is Lord!Click To Tweet

George Rutherford

George Rutherford is the Coordinator of Youth Ministry at Portland St Patrick Parish in Portland, Michigan. George entered full time ministry after retiring , so he thought, form full time work as a Hospital Administrator - George likes to say “ God must have a great sense of humor, why else would he call an old dude like me into full time ministry at my age “ . George lives by the motto : “Growing old is mandatory , growing up however is optional”

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